Over the past 24 hours, Internet users have been locked in an intense, friendship-ending debate… over a dress. A horribly blown out image (seen below) shows a formal dress that is bright blue with black lace, yet thousands swear that they see the dress as white and gold (including many totally wrong members of the Popular Science staff). How can so many people be divided on the same picture? Fortunately, AsapSCIENCE, a weekly YouTube channel dedicated to answering the most perplexing questions about science, took on the challenge of explaining the phenomenon, in the very good video above. Their answer? A phenomenon called color constancy.
Just how scary is the future? In a question posed on Twitter, the Science Friday radio show asked people to come up with #CrimeHeadlinesFrom2025. There were a lot of great responses, running the gamut from copyright law and clones to accidents involving driverless cars. The only problem? Some of the headlines are almost appropriate today. Here are three.
Of course, that's a rough estimate. Depending on the lighting conditions, surface texture, and background color, people may be able to distinguish a few more or a few less shades. Note that the image at the top of this story is an optical illusion, in which the bar is actually one shade of gray. The graded background makes the bar appear to have different shades along its horizontal axis.